Archive For The “Travel” Category

Same, Same…But WAY Different (My European Welcome)

Same, Same…But WAY Different (My European Welcome)

Pairs Well With…Getting it together + Cultural Adaptation + New Continent

I’m happy to report that after one week of hiding out, stomping feet, being yelled at by little old ladies and on the verge of a major breakdown in Belgrade, I’ve survived and have resurfaced.  No, really. Last week, it felt like the world was ending, and it was unbearable to think that I’d be living in Belgrade for the next five weeks. Five weeks. Why five weeks here when every other country had been four?  Was this some sort of punishment?

Day after day of my first week in Belgrade, I faced minor annoyances that compounded into what felt like a catastrophic problem until one day I found myself unloading tears of frustration on the corner of “sign I can’t read” and “sign I can’t read.” I think it’s safe to say that Belgrade and I got off on the wrong foot because I’m (finally) starting to enjoy my time here.  But last week, all I was thinking last week was, “How do I buy a ticket out of here?!

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Thailand’s Top 10 Thrills & Things to Do

Thailand’s Top 10 Thrills & Things to Do

Pairs Well With…”Cheap Thrills” by Sia

Thailand came in as the front-runner of my four months in Asia.  I loved everything about it.  From food to adventures to the people, it was an amazing, eye-opening and an unforgettable part of my travels.  When you’re standing with an elephant who wants to play with you or on one of the most beautiful islands in the world by yourself watching the sunset, it’s hard not to stop and say to yourself, “Hot damn, I can’t believe this is my life.”

I was fortunate enough to see a good portion of Thailand.  I put on a lot of moving miles between planes, buses, boats and car rides.  While in Bangkok the majority of the month, I was afforded many cheap thrills and laughable photo opps, and each of my Thailand mini adventures gave me a little something different.  Shortly after my arrival to Bangkok, I took off for a few days of work catch up on the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.  Pictures can’t even do this part of the country justice.  Then, it was back to Bangkok for a few days before heading up north for cultural exploring and “do-gooding” in Chiang Mai.  As I left Thailand, I realized I had pretty much done “all the things.”

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The Best of Asia In Pictures

The Best of Asia In Pictures

Pairs Well With…Asia adventures + 4-month time span + the most amazing memories + even better people

My time in Asia came and went with a quickness.  Four months of my life passed by in the blink of an eye, and it seems like just yesterday that I left home on my one year journey abroad.  I guess it’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun.  And I’m having a blast.  In fact, make that the time of my life.

In a few short days, I’ll be moving to Europe.  Gone will be the land of noodles everywhere, temples on every corner, two or three-wheeled transportation devices and, sadly, a handful of beautiful souls with whom I’ve shared many memories.  I forgot how quickly people can form bonds in such a short amount of time, especially when you see them pretty much 24/7.  They become ingrained in your life and each leaves a special footprint on your heart.

The fun part about traveling with 60+ other people is experiencing the same things together, which is also precisely what makes it interesting: seeing the same things through different perspectives. After debating what I wanted to write about this week, I landed on a collection of pictures from the last four months in Asia.  But not just mine, everyone else’s favorite memories through pictures, in addition to mine.  Pictures speak a million words, so I wanted to let them do just that.

Asia Ha Long Bay Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – Kate Bagoy – Favorite memory because: It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve seen. Taking a row boat through a mountain was pretty cool.

Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia – Jay Harrison

Koh Phangan, Thailand Travel

Koh Phangan, Thailand – Full Moon Party at Sunrise by Zoe Weiner

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A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Cambodia

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Cambodia

Pairs Well With…Cambodia + Crunchy Critters + Cooking + Khmer Dishes (which made a memorable impression)

If you recall last month’s food challenge, I ate a lot of weird sea creatures, from snails to tiny shrimps, none of which tickled my fancy.  Month two’s food challenge was quite sea-based, different than the curveball thrown my way in month three: bugs.  As far as I can recall, I never ate a bug, not even as a kid.  I knew the bug eating was bound to happen either in Cambodia or Thailand, so I should have been ready.

Each monthly challenge consists of a minimum of five food oddities that are eaten routinely in the country. I’ve often found myself thinking, “Who the heck would actually eat this?”  Answer: people in third world or underdeveloped countries, where bugs are common “treat” – if you can even call them that. (For the record, crickets are sold at movie theaters as a show snack. I still hold firm that they taste like bacon.) During the month 3 challenge, I tapped out halfway through.  There was NO way in hell I was eating big ass cicada bugs, which were this month’s “Never Try, Never Know” food challenge finale.

Take a look at what month three’s food challenge looked like:

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bugs aside, the “normal meals” each month continue to get better and better.  While I liked the food in Vietnam, especially the Pho, I loved the fresh flavors of traditional Khmer recipes.  In fact, I found myself cooking a lot in Cambodia, both at home and with local chefs, which allowed me to learn traditional Khmer cooking techniques and recipes.  All this Khmer cooking inspiration has made its way into this month’s A Girl’s Gotta Eat Guide to Cambodia.

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